Who would have guessed Pabst Blue Ribbon that iconic working class beer ironically embraced by hipsters has a pedigree more blue blood than blue-collar.
75 years ago Pabst positioned itself to appeal to the “gay, smart modern set” hoping members of Café Society would pass on that glass of champagne favoring a bottle of the Milwaukee brew instead.
In an ad campaign from 1939 featuring swells more Wall Street than Williamsburg, the ads pictured sophisticated men-about-town in elegant tuxedos and glamor girls decked out in Elsa Schiaparelli gowns living the high life frequenting exclusive haunts from The Stork Club to The Coconut Grove.
The ads would have you believe these scions of hi society eschewed their jack Rose Cocktails while supping at the Waldorf Astoria in favor of a bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
A far cry from the 70’s themed dive bars that currently dot hipster meccas from Portland to Bushwick where skinny jeaned hipsters with thick framed glasses sport Pink Floyd T-shirts, carry Freitag courier bags filled with vinyl LP, and ironically hoist cans of red white and blue PBR.
Where the Smart World Sets the Pace- Pabst Gets the Call
“From the dazzling sands of the beach at Waikiki to the swank Miami shoreline- From the gay social whirl of Westchester to the brightly shining stars of Hollywood- Pabst gets the smart worlds call.
“Because –its brisk bodied for keener refreshment…streamlined for a quicker more sparkling lift in every delicious drop. Nothing heavy or syrupy to slow its invigorating action.
“Just pale golden goodness you never tire of. Pabst is thoroughly aged…to precisely that peak point of soul satisfying, thirst –quenching tang you find in rare old champagne. No wonder Pabst Blue Ribbon is the Smart Worlds password to keener zestier living…the class of all beers in a class by itself!”
“Pass the word..you want Pabst Blue Ribbon”
“At the Waldorf-Astoria Past gets the call…as seen in the famous Tony Sarg Pasis, one of N.Y.’s smartest meeting places. Here as in the other swank restaurants of the Waldorf, the fashionable world relaxes refreshes with delicious Pabst Blue Ribbon.”
While urban hipsters might arrive in their fixed gear bicycles no doubt these swells drove in their Packard’s to imbibe in Pabst in the Waldorf splendor.
“At the Cocoanut Grove Pabst gets the call. Acknowledged center of Hollywood smartness, Hotel Ambassador plays host to the brightest stars from every walk of life. Here keen living reigns supreme- and Pabst Blue Ribbon is the password to keener enjoyment of every golden moment.”
Today the password among Hipsters is derived from another Hollywood legend- David Lynche’s movie Blue Velvet: “Heineken! Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!”
“At Santa Anita Pabst gets the call. Never has the sports of Kings enjoyed a more glorious setting. Its southern California’s paradise of thoroughbreds and fashion. And everywhere-for relaxing refreshment at the Club House and thirst quenching goodness in the Grandstand- the winner is Pabst Blue Ribbon”
Royal Hawaiian Hotel
At the Royal Hawaiian Blue Ribbon is the smart worlds choice at this Pacific Paradise. Once the playground of Hawaiian kings..a hotel of indescribable beauty, fronting the world-famous surf and sand of Waikiki Beach
Pabst was down on its heels, before Portland another west coast Paradise co-opted PBR as their own.
The Stork Club
“At The Stork Club Here N.Y. society mingles with the worlds celebrities of stage radio, screen and press. Gay, sophisticated, elegant. And their choice for keener refreshment is Pabst Blue Ribbon.”
Today, Tattooed bearded Brooklynites in fitted hoodies mingle with alt band musicians in a sea of gingham, plaid and checks.
© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.